Wolf Pack Start Strong, Tokarski Makes it Enough
Hartford, CT - The Hartford Wolf Pack completed a sweep of consecutive home games against the Springfield Thunderbirds Friday night at the XL Center, defeating Springfield by a score of 3-1.
The Wolf Pack had finished calendar year 2018 with a 6-5 overtime win over the Thunderbirds Sunday afternoon.
Friday's win lifted the Wolf Pack above the .500 mark, to 16-15-2-2, and to within one point of the Thunderbirds in the Atlantic Division standings.
Lias Andersson and John Gilmour scored for the Wolf Pack, and Peter Holland added an empty-netter and an assist. Dustin Tokarski made 26 saves. Jacob MacDonald scored the only Springfield goal.
"I liked our start," Wolf Pack head coach Keith McCambridge said. "I thought we created a lot of chances, the energy was good. We like the type of game we played tonight."
Nearly all the offense came in the first period, with the Wolf Pack opening the scoring at 7:08 of the first period, on Andersson's first goal in three games since his return to the Wolf Pack from the parent New York Rangers. Ryan Gropp drove a shot from the left-wing side, and Thunderbird goaltender Samuel Montembeault (23 saves) gave up a long rebound. The puck came to the right side of the slot, and Andersson poked it in.
Gilmour doubled the lead for Hartford at 10:59, with his tenth goal of the season and third in two games. Again, the goal was the result of a rebound, as Ville Meskanen had a shot stopped, but Gilmour, whose overtime goal lifted the Wolf Pack to victory in Sunday's game, jumped on the carom on the right side. He retreated toward the point before hammering a blast that beat Montembeault over the catching glove.
The Thunderbirds got on the scoreboard on a power play, though, with 1:35 left in the period. With Dawson Leedahl in the penalty box for interference, Matt Mangene turned to the right-wing boards and dropped the puck back to MacDonald on the right point, and he sent a wrist shot through traffic and past Tokarski.
The second period was scoreless, with the highlight being a diving save made by Tokarski on a rebound chance for Mangene near the 15-minute mark, while Springfield was on a power play.
"To be honest I thought the puck was going in." Gilmour said. "It was a good shot, and the way he saved it was unreal. We all waited a second not really believing it, and then we all went nuts. He's a great goalie, and he showed it tonight."
Springfield outshot the Wolf Pack 13-7 in the third period, but Tokarski held fast, and Holland iced the game with 27.2 seconds remaining, after the Thunderbirds had pulled Montembeault for an extra attacker.
"It was a good one, and I think we battled hard and we got that win we deserve," Andersson said. "It was a good start to the weekend."
The Wolf Pack are back at the XL Center on Saturday night, hosting the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in a 7:00 PM game. That is "Pucks and Paws" and Pet Adoption Night at the XL Center, and there will be designated sections in which fans can purchase tickets to bring their dogs to the game (click here).
Tickets for all 2018-19 Wolf Pack home games are on sale now at the Agera Energy Ticket Office at the XL Center, on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com and by phone at (877) 522-8499. Tickets purchased in advance for kids 12 or younger start at just $13 each, and all tickets will have a $3 day-of-game increase.
Season ticket information for the Wolf Pack's 2018-19 AHL season can be found on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com. To speak with a representative about all of the Wolf Pack's many attractive ticketing options, call (855) 762-6451, or click here to request more info.
Springfield Thunderbirds 1 at Hartford Wolf Pack 3
Friday - XL Center
Springfield 1 0 0 - 1
Hartford 2 0 1 - 3
1st Period-1, Hartford, Andersson 5 (Gropp, Lettieri), 7:08. 2, Hartford, Gilmour 10 (Meskanen, Holland), 10:59. 3, Springfield, MacDonald 8 (Mangene, Hunt), 18:25 (PP). Penalties-Thompson Spr (holding), 1:16; Holland Hfd (tripping), 8:08; served by Ang Spr (bench minor - too many men), 12:00; Leedahl Hfd (interference), 17:05.
2nd Period- No Scoring. Penalties-Fogarty Hfd (holding), 2:41; Horvat Spr (interference), 8:48; Melchiori Spr (interference), 12:36; Fogarty Hfd (holding the stick), 14:49.
3rd Period-4, Hartford, Holland 11 (Andersson, Bigras), 19:32 (EN). Penalties-Tokarski Hfd (tripping), 5:40.
Shots on Goal-Springfield 7-7-13-27. Hartford 13-6-7-26.
Power Play Opportunities-Springfield 1 / 5; Hartford 0 / 4.
Goalies-Springfield, Montembeault 11-7-4 (25 shots-23 saves). Hartford, Tokarski 8-4-2 (27 shots-26 saves).
Referees-Reid Anderson (49), Chris Brown (86).
Linesmen-Nick Briganti (58), Kevin Briganti (39).
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